Villainy comes in all manner of forms, from the cool and conniving, the corrupt, the vicious and spiteful. It can be crime so organised it seems impossible to pin down, cruel enough to seem capable of anything, or suitably unpredictable to be considered dangerous beyond all others.
There’s a much finer line between Chaotic and Neutral Evil than one might believe, both are driven purely by self-interest without a damn given for the needs and feelings of anyone else, but there’s a line there to be drawn. Chaos is rebellion, be it in the interest of a people free to live their lives, or in the interest of no one stopping you from doing whatever you want. It isn’t necessarily the brutish violence of a conquering monster, or the man on a mission to undo everything in his path… it can be those things, but ultimately Chaotic Evil just wants to go wherever its whims take it, and doing whatever it wants when it gets there.
Wha’ Ever, I Do Wha’ I Want!
Those of a more Lawful disposition are content to live their lives governed by the wills of an organisation of some sort, but to those of a chaotic bent then no will, no opinion, and no demands are of greater importance than their own. Traditional evil motivations, money, power, revenge, domination, the classic fair all fall within the classic purview of CE characters, but you may embrace something a little more ambitious.
Your ultimate desires may be to topple some organisation, a country, a church, or a corporation, through means another might deem excessive or bloody. While the Chaotic-Good Robin Hood might choose to rally the people to his cause, steal tax revenue and return it to the people, and stand up to the bullies, a CE Robin Hood might infiltrate Nottingham under cover of darkness, slit the Sheriff’s throat and splay his corpse upon the walls as a message to the others. Would we celebrate and revel around that Robin Hood?
Whatever task you set yourself may very well become an obsession, a goal that no obstacle will prevent you from reaching. You may be a simple wanderer with a cruel streak, or a simple brute working for someone who encourages your hobby of breaking people’s teeth, but the moment you don’t like the situation you’re in you’ll do everything you can to change it, even if that means bloodshed.
Especially if it means bloodshed.
Always The Joker
Chaotic Evil is the label most often afforded to the criminally insane, the misguided who don’t seem to realise that what they’re doing are wrong, or believe that they are on some kind of positive mission. The Joker might very well fit into this category, as he seems to have rationalised (or irrationalised) away questions of morality in favour of spreading a message, casting aside ambitions of power and wealth in favour of anarchic and bloody comedy, trying to lift the illusion of organisation from the world.
For a better example, consider the Jigsaw killer from the Saw film franchise. In truth, he never seeks to kill anyone (at least in the first film) and gives all of his “victims” a shot at redemption, a path to a better life through suffering, and congratulates and supports them if they escape his wicked traps. There’s still a battery of crimes being committed, but he’s trying to encourage his kidnapped, bound, and tortured new friends to embrace the life they have left, and it’s a duty that has earned him some super creepy disciples.
This raises some rather large questions about whether evil lies in intent or outcome, and the notion of an objective good, questions far too huge to be addressed in a simple gaming post, but also some of the major questions that cause the alignment system to fall apart. Typical of chaotic evil, breaks everything it touches.
Let’s talk Eric Cartman. Everyone cites the Joker as the go-to Chaotic Evil character, no one wants to discuss the kid who fed a bully his own parents? South Park’s antagonistic Cartman shows nothing but contempt for authority unless it’s in his pudgy hands, refuses to listen to reason unless it justifies his lunatic world view, and is capable of manipulation, sadism, and purely insane strategies to gain money and power.
Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy would be considered Chaotic Evil by those who don’t share her vision. At the height of her villainous exploits the ecoterrorist used monstrous plants to tear down civilisations and strike out at those forces who are destroying nature. She may have noble intentions, and her methods may be seen as increasingly rational as the effects of global warming worsen year by year, but her general disdain for human life – or even animal life – means she’s no ally to human life.
It’s a big, scary world, filled with bad people, but that needn’t be an issue to the man with the bigger gun. Still working on a nickname, but for now “Bigger Gun” seems to be a name that people understand. Somewhere in this world there is a man with some answers you need, mostly what your actual name is and why you don’t know it. This is not that man, but he has answers that get you closer, and apparently he speaks “Bigger Gun” fluently.
The fire spread quickly, sending a bright orange glow across the garden. Paint was already peeling on the heavy door when the screaming began. On the lawn the twins joined hands, listening to the percussive crackle of burning timber, joined by the rising harmony of mean people getting what they deserve. Isn’t that what the towering Governess had said every time she punished them? “You only get what you deserve.”
Ok, that got dark. Next week I wrap up my run down of moral alignments with the missing middle-man, I skipped over Neutral because it’s going to be a big one.